Ask Me Anything! (But let us please keep it in the kitchen or within the realm of food history. 😉 )

You may post additional questions in the comments at the bottom of this page.


Frequently Asked

Q: How do I convert Celsius temperature measurements into Fahrenheit?
A: Double the Celsius amount and subtract from it 10%; then add 32 degrees.
Example: 225 Celsius = 450 – 45 = 405 + 32 = approx. 435 Fahrenheit

Q: How much liquid do I use when the Italian recipes of this blog call for “una tazza Americana”?
A: One American cup equals 0.23 l that is a little less than 1/4 of a liter.

Q: in a very old book about the life and diet of Mezzolombardo’s Franciscan Friars (Padre Remo Stenico’s “I Frati Minori a Mezzolombardo,” republished in 2001 by the Convento Padri Francescani , Corso del Popolo, Trento, Italy), I found two very old and regional measuring units for oil and wine. How many liters correspond to one “galeda” of oil? How many to one “mossa” of wine? A: One GALEDA of oil correspond to 10 liters of oil. One MOSSA of wine was equal to 1,0466 liters of liquid.

Q: Is there a difference between the Italian terms stoccafisso and bacala’?
A: Yes – Both terms are used by Italians to describe cod fish, the main ingredient of an Italian regional dish called baccala’ or bacala’ (with one C”); however, stoccafisso is dried cod fish, hard like a “stock” (Germanic term used to describe a rigid hard cane, or a wooden stick) and baccalá is the same cod fish but preserved in salt. Baccala’ is the main ingredient in a cod fish dish called by Hispanic Americans, Portuguese and Spanish cooks bacalao. Dried cod fish arrived to Italy after the 15th century but salted cod fish was used in Italy since Roman times.   

Q: During the late XVII century, food and goods in Northern Italy were sometimes paid in FIORINI D’ORO or in CARENTANI; what modern price value would you assign to that currency?
A: Hard to say; however, trying to make a realistic guess based on the modern value of gold and on modern monetary variables and assumptions: let’s say that a FIORINO D’ORO (a golden florin) weighed 3,54 grams in gold and taking today’s value of gold per gram I assign to this golden florin a value of 32 Euros per gram of gold or an approximate value of 114-115 Euros per golden florin. And since a florin of gold equaled to 60 CARENTANI we assume that the value of the CARENTANO could be 1/60 of the golden florin. Hope this can help! If someone out there has a better option, please let us know…((((-:

Q: During the Great Council of Trento (1545-1564) staff members of aristocratic attendees earned salaries; how much did a cook earn at that time?
A: According to Roberto Pancheri, author of I Racconti del Concilio [Tales around the Council – 2015, Curcu & Genovese, Via Ghiaie 15, 38122 Trento, Italy), who for his book reserached the salaries of a few members of the staff serving at the Castello del Buonconsiglio, where the historic event took place, a famous entertainer buffoon (Cima) earned 4 ragnesi per month, a fine cook earned 8 ragnesi, a castle gardener earned 2 ragnesi, and a coach driver earned 1 ragnese per month (Pancheri p. 75). At that time, a “ragnese” was the regional version of a “Reinischer Gulden,” which equaled to an Italian gold florin. As for the yearly salary of the household staff of a castle, such as the Buonconsiglio or Thun castle, costed approximately 142 ragnesi (or gold florins) and 90 troni (troni being coins of 6,52 grams of silver) per year with the salary of a cook in a noble household amounting approximately to 920 Euros per month.

2 thoughts on “ASK ELISABETTA

  1. Per Elisabetta
    Per iniziare, tritate finemente il torrone, io l’ho fatto con il mio mortaio (foto 1) potete anche aiutarvi con un robot da cucina. Una volta tritato mettetelo per un istante da parte. Tagliate le pere a pezzetti e inseritele in una ciotola con del succo di limone per non farle diventare nere e mettetele in frigo. Montate la panna fresca in una ciotola (foto 2), una volta pronta mettetela nel frigo per non farla smontare. Sbattete le uova con lo zucchero e il rum e incorporatevi poi il torrone (foto 3). Amalgamate il tutto fino a che non diventerà una crema morbida. Incorporate ora la panna montata mescolando con una spatola dal basso verso l’alto. Una volta pronto versate il composto nelle coppe o in una pirofila, decorate con le pere e una grattugiata di cioccolato fondente, se vi piace potete potete anche aggiungerci il cioccolato tritato (sia nel composto che per decorare la coppa).

    Mettete ora in freezer per almeno 5 ore, prima di servire lasciatelo fuori per qualche minuto per farlo ammorbidire.

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